Moving is never easy, no matter how close your new place is to the old one. It sounds simple enough, taking your stuff from one house to another. However, there’s more to it than just your belongings and it’s easy to overlook something important in the confusion. Fortunately, most of these mistakes can be prevented with careful planning. Here are some of the most common relocation mistakes you would do well to avoid.
1.) Failing to Research a New Location
Before moving anywhere, it’s important to learn about your chosen location. Do some research on the demographics in both the larger metro area and any neighbourhoods you may be looking at. Read their local news online and contact their Chamber of Commerce. Find out about their school systems and crime rates. These can be major concerns for someone with a family. A letting agent can help you with information on average rents and cost of living. For more information on how a letting agent can help, visit AshtonBurkinshaw.co.uk.
2.) Bad Timing
Avoid moving at the beginning or end of any month, since this is when everyone’s leases are up and moving companies are busiest. Weekdays are best (Monday through Thursday), since most people plan their moves on weekends. Summer is also the most expensive time to move, so you’re better off waiting until sometime between November and the beginning of the year, which is their slow season. You might even be able to negotiate a better rate when business is slow, provided you don’t wait until the last minute to call them.
3.) Using the Wrong Moving Company
As with other services, you often get what you pay for with moving companies. If you choose the lowest-priced one, you could be paying for cheap, inexperienced labour. If you value your possessions, look for an experienced company with a reputation for professionalism, honesty and a solid insurance policy.
4.) Not Getting an Estimate
Get estimates for at least three moving companies ahead of time, save enough for the most expensive one and make sure you have cash available for a down payment (if required). Ask if there are any hidden fees or if fuel surcharges may affect the estimate if the price of fuel changes. If you’re offered a non-binding agreement, your estimate will be in writing with a cap on how much more you can be charged over the original estimate (usually around 10 percent). In a binding agreement, the amount is fixed and can’t be changed unless you request additional services.
5.) Not Making Sure Your Old Home is Ready to Sell
If you’re selling your old home, make sure it’s ready to show when you leave. You can’t expect reasonable offers if the place is dirty or needs repairs. Even minor details like sticking doors and chipped paint will be noticed by prospective buyers. Unless they’re investors, they’re probably going to want a house that’s ready to move into. A professional cleaning will leave the best impression.
6.) Failing to Plan for Temporary Housing
Just because you think you’re prepared doesn’t mean the unexpected won’t occur. Closing on a new home can take anywhere from a few days to a couple months and you might need temporary housing. The simplest solution is to stay in a hotel, but this can get expensive if you have to stay there more than a few weeks. If that’s the case, be prepared to sign a short-term lease on an apartment until your new place is ready.
7.) Being Unprepared for Culture Shock
If you’re moving to a different country, or another part of your own country, you might have a hard time adjusting to how things are done there. Culture shock can manifest itself in various ways, including headaches, stomach problems and sleep problems. It can take months to get used to new surroundings, but it helps to read up on the area before moving. Look for clubs or groups where you can meet people with similar interests. Seek out opportunities to get involved in the same types of activities you participated in before. Eventually, you’ll get to know people and develop new relationships.
8.) Failing to Maintain an Inventory List
Always keep an inventory list of your belongings. The best time to start making one is when you first start packing. Get everyone in the household to make their own lists and add them to a larger one. You probably won’t see each item go into the moving truck, but you’ll have a better idea of what’s supposed to be there, in case anything is missing. It’s easier to find things on the day of the move than weeks later, when you suddenly realize you haven’t seen them. Make sure you understand how the claims process works before signing the inventory sheet, in case you have to file one for missing items.
Moving is supposed to be exciting and adventurous. Just remember that if you wait until the last minute to figure out what has to be done, you’re likely to make several mistakes. As many things as there are to look into and take care of, it doesn’t have to be a disaster if you plan ahead.
Jennifer Pollard works in the world of corporate relocation’s and knows the pitfalls and scenarios that can occur when moving to a new area or country. She enjoys sharing her insights online and writes regularly for a number of relevant websites.